DPP Home Profiles Michael DeYoung: Master Of Outdoor Lifestyle

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Michael DeYoung: Master Of Outdoor Lifestyle

The consummate adventurer, Michael DeYoung has built his career on bringing viewers into his vivid and active outdoor scenes

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DeYoung approaches his technique in the same easy manner. He recognizes that the degree of difficulty in achieving a shot doesn’t necessarily correlate with the perceived creativity of a shot.

“All subjects are design elements,” he says. “You don’t have to stand in 40 below to get a great shot. It doesn’t make it any better. If I can get a picture going 50 miles an hour on the freeway out of my car window, great!”

Simplicity also is the rule when it comes to lighting. The lighting in a DeYoung photograph is easily one of its most distinctive characteristics. The vividly colored landscapes add a depth missing in much of outdoor photography. His critics may accuse him of being “hyper-colored,” but those who have spent as much time as DeYoung has exploring the outdoors know that the colors we see in nature, untouched by mankind, easily can surpass what any digital effects can create in post.

In addition to editorial work, DeYoung does a fair amount of catalog photography. His stock business is considerable, and he’s constantly shooting to increase his selection of imagery. When you’re shooting outdoor sports, gear and clothing change from year to year, so DeYoung makes sure that his archive always looks current.
“What can I say?” declares DeYoung. “I’m a bold color person!”

DeYoung’s color palette may be bold, but his technique is simple and organic. He chooses not to rely on postproduction color touchups, but only on what he can capture in the field. “I’m a big believer in doing everything you can in the field,” he says. “It’s more time-consuming to do it in Photoshop. I don’t have the ‘fix it in post’ attitude. It’s a bad way to go.”

Carrying over a touch of the old school, DeYoung is still a religious user of graduated neutral-density filters. “It’s just easier to pull a filter,” he adds. “It just doesn’t look as good to do adjustments in postproduction. It doesn’t look as good as doing it in the field. I guess I still have the film mentality.”

DeYoung’s fresh and enterprising style isn’t only a product of his creative mind and love for the outdoors. As a businessperson, DeYoung understands the importance of market research and staying up on the latest trends. Since the majority of his business is stock photography, he shoots self-assigned work based on historical data and sales. To stay relative, it’s crucial that he stays competitive.

“I get information on how to stay fresh from my editors,” says DeYoung. “I get a book that describes trends. And I go online to find color trends. It’s critical that we style people in the latest and greatest gear and apparel. I look at catalogs from Patagonia, Title Nine, REI, L.L.Bean. You have to look at people and see what they’re wearing. On top of everything else I do—shooting, marketing, research—I have to make a concerted effort to stay on the latest trends and stay competitive.”

DeYoung’s switch to digital back in 2003 also was a strategic move to stay ahead of the pack. “I switched to stay competitive,” he says. “I saw the way it was going and had to jump in.”

It’s this fluid, constantly evolving adaptability that makes DeYoung a frontrunner in an ultra-competitive business. By pairing his savvy business mind with his originality and love of nature, he delivers a photographic vision that’s stimulating and exciting!

DeYoung’s talent for capturing adventure sports available to the weekend warrior gives his work a human, approachable feel. It’s not about extremes—jumping off craggy peaks or doing 360s down a pipe—but inspiring people to get off their butts and jump into a world of color and adventure.

To see more of Michael DeYoung’s photography, visit www.michaeldeyoungphotography.com.


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